Essential processes used in chocolate manufacturing
Chocolate manufacturing is a fun, yet serious business, and chocolate factories are extremely busy places. The chocolate tanks and pipes flow from one area to another to allow manufacturers to make chocolate in continuous production lines, with the aim of manufacturing large amounts of each particular type of chocolate eg a chocolate bar.
Chocolate manufacturing is different to chocolate processing. Chocolate processing includes the steps involved in transforming cocoa beans into chocolate products. It involves several steps, including roasting, grinding, refining and conching. Most chocolate is produced in a processing factory before being loaded onto a tanker and being delivered to the chocolate factory, where it is manufactured into lots of different chocolate products. If you’d like to learn more about chocolate processing read our story of chocolate.
There are quite a few processes involved in the manufacture of chocolate but most of them are actually quite straightforward.
Let’s look at some of the main production techniques that take place in a chocolate manufacturing facility like Hames.
Tempering chocolate is a crucial stage in chocolate manufacture and it’s notoriously tricky. It involves raising and lowering the temperature of the chocolate to alter its crystal formation. This causes the fatty acid crystals in the chocolate to form nuclei around which other fatty acids will crystallise. Once the crystals are connected, the temperature is raised to prevent them from solidifying.
Chocolate that’s been tempered has a smooth, glossy look to it and a distinctive snapping sound when it’s broken.
Although chocolate can be tempered by hand, chocolate factories will have automatic tempering machines to temper the chocolate. Every chocolate flavour or chocolate colour needs to be tempered before it can be turned into other chocolate products so a large factory will have a lot of tempering machinery.
Chocolatiers can add infusions and flavours to chocolate after it’s been tempered. At Hames we know how to add just the right amount of flavour to chocolate to enhance it but not overpower it. We make a wide variety of flavoured chocolate including chocolate that’s infused with natural flavourings - from Brazilian orange, peppermint and strawberry to caramel, natural Cornish Sea salt and more. Usually, flavoured chocolate is held in an automatic tempering machine to make sure it stays in its tempered state until it is moulded into the finished chocolate product.
After tempering, melted chocolate is poured into moulds and vibrated to remove any air bubbles. At Hames we have machines and conveyors that deposit exactly the right amount of chocolate into each mould, but this can also be done by hand. Many shapes can be achieved depending on the mould design and a factory like Hames literally has thousands of chocolate moulds to choose from.
A spinning machine is an automatic device that manufactures hollow moulded chocolate products e.g. Easter eggs and bunnies as well as hot chocolate bombs and more. Hollow chocolate moulds are affixed to the machine’s spinning arms which have fixed magnetic points. Using rotation, chocolate is spread evenly over the surface of the mould.
Chocolate enrobing involves coating confectionery in a layer of chocolate. Traditionally this process was slow and involved dipping the pieces manually into melted chocolate. Nowadays it’s impractical to employ enough people to do this by hand so it’s carried out by machines called enrobers.
Skillful chocolatiers can ensure that a thin layer of chocolate covers the chocolate. Correct tempering and cooling of the chocolate ensures the result is a shiny rather than a dull chocolate finish.
Enrobing can be done with all kinds of confectionery products including honeycomb, fudge, pretzel, ganache and nuts. (Though Hames don’t use nut products in their manufacturing area)
Chocolate manufacturers use chocolate depositing machines to help them pour and form chocolates. They can be used to discharge chocolate fillings and shells, deposit chocolate fillings directly into cooling belts, deposit chocolate into moulds and to make chips, drops, pralines and chocolate chunks. Hames use their depositors to make products such as truffles, cake decorations, hot chocolate spoons and advent calendars to name but a few.
Shaving and Flaking
Tempered chocolate is moulded into gigantic blocks of chocolate. These blocks of chocolate are fed into a machine that uses knives to shave the chocolate into small flakes that can be used to decorate chocolates and cakes, and also make hot chocolate.
At Hames our chocolate making equipment and our team of skilled chocolatiers ensures that we’re able to supply customers with large quantities of high quality chocolate products, as well as deliver them within a specific time frame. Whatever your requirements, chocolate-wise, we’re sure we can help, so get in touch for a chat with one of our friendly team today.